December 19, 2010

Time for an upgrade

It's been a loooong time since I've done a site upgrade. This place was already looking pretty dated a few years ago, and time has not treated it well. It had gotten to where I hesitated to post links because I knew I'd get the inevitable "Comic sans? Really?", among other snarky comments. And of course the web has long since moved away from coloured backgrounds, even light ones; pretty much anything other than white (or off-white) is hard to find among sharp-looking websites. But if I was changing things, I wanted to do more than just a trivial font change and a switch to a white background; other elements of the layout reflected an older web, and the last time I did a doc crawl on this stuff it was still the heady early days of CSS2, so probably more than ten years ago. You might be surprised to learn this, but a lot has changed in ten years.

So I'm working on a new design. A few minor changes will roll out early (where they show up directly in the HTML), but I want to wait to slide in the new CSS until I've tested it on multiple browsers. Soon, though.

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." --Robert Heinlein

Posted by blahedo at 2:05am on 19 Dec 2010
Any chance of enabling full-text RSS feeds while you're under the hood, good sir? That fits nicely into the category of "things that have changed on the web in the past ten (five even) years." In my experience, the only sites left that don't provide full text feeds are the ones trying to monetize by driving people to the direct pageviews. Frankly, those sites frustrate and alienate me more than the "first 30 words" feeds like yours since I'd be fine with having ads in the feeds accompanying the full content. Anyway, my point is it'd be nice to not have to leave my RSS reader, but I'm not going to stop reading regardless. Posted by Brian at 7:02am on 19 Dec 2010
That would involve an upgrade from MT, get this, 2.6. Which is probably also in the cards at this point, but it's almost entirely orthogonal to the re-skinning I'm doing through CSS, so that part will wait until later. Posted by blahedo at 4:01pm on 21 Dec 2010

2.6!? As in, circa February 2003? Wow, I don't think you've got much of an upgrade path left there. That will be a fun project.

You're right that a facelift is the easy win, but I don't see it as orthogonal since you've stated a version upgrade is in the forecast anyway and any skinning changes you make now will likely be obsolete after an upgrade/migration and will need to be redone. Since any modern blog package will preclude the vast majority of the CSS changes you're probably making by hand, you'd be killing two birds with one very large, very unwieldy stone.

This is all philosophical debate, of course. Talking shop. Thanks for humoring me. Besides, I bet all you'd have to do is comment out a substr() call somewhere to enable "full feeds." ;-)

Posted by Brian at 2:52pm on 23 Dec 2010
You don't need to upgrade, just modify your RSS/Atom templates to include the full article body rather than an excerpt. Probably just a modification of the MTEntryBody tag to remove the words parameter or changing an MTEntryExcerpt into an MTEntryBody. Posted by eden at 9:52pm on 3 Jan 2011
How convenient! Done. Posted by blahedo at 11:27pm on 8 Jan 2011
Valid XHTML 1.0!